Denied. The fourth of fifteen words on Jesus' way to the Cross.
The fourth of our Lent reflections touches on Peter's denial that he knew Jesus, and is based on Mathew 26:69-75.
Now Peter was sitting out in the courtyard, and a servant-girl came to him. ‘You also were with Jesus of Galilee,’ she said.
But he denied it before them all. ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about,’ he said.
Then he went out to the gateway, where another servant-girl saw him and said to the people there, ‘This fellow was with Jesus of Nazareth.’
He denied it again, with an oath: ‘I don’t know the man!’
After a little while, those standing there went up to Peter and said, ‘Surely you are one of them; your accent gives you away.’
Then he began to call down curses, and he swore to them, ‘I don’t know the man!’
Immediately a cock crowed. Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken: ‘Before the cock crows, you will disown me three times.’ And he went outside and wept bitterly.
Peter is one of the most dynamic and interesting characters in the Gospels. He’s strong, brash, and full of faith. But here, we see a different side to him. The scene is a courtyard. Perhaps it’s dark. We can be sure that he was scared. He denies knowing Jesus. He curses, swearing to them.
Do we ever deny our faith in Jesus? Or do our friends and family, coworkers and teammates, know that we are ‘with Jesus of Nazareth’? And if they do, what difference does that make? What would we do in this situation? In the dark? When we’re scared?
Perhaps the opposite of denying Jesus is to witness faithfully to him. Peter realises this, as the cock crows. And his response is entirely appropriate.
Pray – This week in our Together Prayer Update we are praying for the work of Missionary Laura Heffernan. Pray for one particular woman who Laura meets with regularly but struggles to believe that God could love someone like her.
Respond - did you know that 1 in 3 UK residents doesn’t have a Christian friend? Check out the Be My Witnesses campaign for practical ideas on how to start to change that.